Ball-Playing Defenders - Business Media MAGS

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Ball-Playing Defenders

Have you ever wondered how some of Mzansi’s greatest defenders would have fared against the league’s modern marksmen? Sihle Ndebele finds out what Mark Fish would do.

Fish, who made over 200 Premier League appearances for Bolton Wanderers and Charlton Athletic between 1997 and 2005, has backed himself, asserting in his heyday he would have managed to close down the likes of record-breaking Erling Haaland and Harry Kane with ease.  

The 49-year-old Bafana legend banks on his comfortability on the ball and tactical awareness as the attributes that would help him contain the athletic strikers of this era. “The game has changed, we all know that, but the way that I played, I think that I’d love the English Premiership now. As you see, the defenders are more ball players now than they were then. I was a ball-playing defender and I had the ability to identify tactical problems that arose during a game, making sure I responded appropriately, so I think that would have helped me deal with the Halaands of this world. 

“I strongly believe I would have stood a good chance to compete with these modern Premier League strikers. What we see week in week out in the league is exciting. I so wish I could rewind time to see how I’d fare against these guys, the strikers of the modern era, but I really back myself.” 

Fish likens Halaand to former Newcastle United striker Duncan Ferguson, whom he faced on numerous occasions during their heyday in the EPL. “Yes, the likes of Halaand are strong and technically good but we also had players like Duncan Ferguson, who was even bigger and stronger. Those are the types of players you want to play against every week because when you play against the best players, they bring out the best in you.”  

English Premier League

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